Customs and Border Protection inspects flowers during busy holiday weekend

Border Patrol checks flowers during holiday weekend

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Red roses and bouquets are a popular Valentine’s Day gift and many travelers bring floral arrangements into the U.S. from Mexico.

Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection alongside agriculture specialists checked cargo for prohibited flowers and inspected bouquets for diseases or pests.

Prohibited items often seen by the agency include chrysanthemums, mock orange, choysia, cedar and juniper.

Chief Agriculture Specialist Jesus Castro inspected flowers travelers brought through at the Port of Nogales on Friday and found some prohibited plants.

“We have the chrysanthemum with white rust on it,” he said. “It’s prohibited.”

He checked Valentine’s Day floral arrangements for harmful insects or diseases that would cause harm to U.S. agriculture.

"These are citrus leafs and these are chrysanthemums,” he said. “They both have diseases."

Officers carefully inspect diseased plants, send off samples and eventually put the plants into an incinerator and burn them.

Castro said officers inspect thousands of species of plants. The goal is to stop pests or diseased plants from entering the U.S. and hurting native species.

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